April 2022

25th Anniversary

Editor's Note

Celebrating 25 Years

BY Brad Kava

We are celebrating big time. This is the 25th anniversary of Growing Up in Santa Cruz and the third year since my buddy Steve Dinnen and I bought the business.

It’s been a labor of love focused on the community, parents and kids. Both Steve and I have been lifelong journalists, spending much of our time investigating crime, government, business and corruption. After leaving the world of daily news, we wanted to do something positive and Growing Up in Santa Cruz has fulfilled our desire.

Six years ago, while I was the editor of the Gilroy Dispatch, my partner and I had a baby and I realized that since Parker and his two step-siblings were my life, I might as well make my life my work. Doing what you love doesn’t feel like work, even if it is a lot of work. Steve has raised three kids and is now bonding with grandchildren. So, we are both writing what we know and love.

Kim Allen and Jennifer Proudfoot co-founded Growing Up in Santa Cruz back in 1997. Jennifer moved on to be a school teacher then principal. Kim stayed with Growing Up for 23 years staving off all kinds of challenges to help give parents the best advice and information with which to raise their kids.

As with many businesses, the last two years have brought our biggest challenges.

Growing Up in Santa Cruz wouldn’t have survived the pandemic without the support of Santa Cruz’s great benefactor Rowland Rebele, a lifelong journalist who has contributed countless donations to organizations that make Santa Cruz a great place — including Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Symphony, the Rebele Family Shelter, Cabrillo College, and KSQD-FM, to name a few. He and his wife Pat walk the walk and we can never thank them enough.

Other contributors include concert promoter Jason Garner, educator Mary Gaukel, Ramona and Bob Pursley and dozens of others who pitched in with donations of money and time. We also have to thank long-time advertisers, who stuck with us during the pandemic, even when their businesses were shut down. Thank you all for helping us to keep Growing Up in Santa Cruz. You can thank them by supporting their businesses!

We will be celebrating in person on April 23 at Kids Day in downtown Santa Cruz. We’ll have great goodies and cool things for kids and parents. Come say hi at what will be a great event for all of us to shake off the blues of the past two years.

We have an awesome staff made up of writers, a designer (now managing editor), photographers, a cartoonist, an accountant and advertising representatives, some of whom have been here since nearly the beginning. They, like our readers, have used Growing Up to help their kids grow up. They share some of their memories here.

 Brad Kava | Owner | Editor

Ann Fitts
Sales Representative

I started at GUiSC in August 2001 after working for 20 years in the travel business.

Way back then we used the fax machine, telephone, and meeting in person to get display print ads created, proofed, and ready for print.

When I started with GU, I took a number of graphic design classes at Cabrillo College – so many in fact, that I had enough units to qualify to play on the Cabrillo women’s tennis team (we had an extra old team that season!). With those design classes under my belt, I enjoyed designing my clients’ ads and loved meeting with “stay at home” moms who were starting new businesses and appreciated help with marketing.
My daughter, Diana was 11 years old when I started and still remembers going with me to meetings with advertisers. Years later, Diana “grew up” and was given the opportunity to develop the GU website and social media.

After 21 years with GU, I have never stopped appreciating being able to work at home, alongside a small but amazing group of co-workers, and to have the opportunity to meet and get to know so many great people in our Santa Cruz community.

Linda Kay
Sales Representative

Being an ad rep for Growing Up in Santa Cruz has been the perfect job for me. I could work as much or as little as I wanted and always have time for my family and church responsibilities. Kim Allen and Jennifer Proudfoot, the original owners/editors always made it clear that family came first. In doing so they made Growing Up like family.

If you checked the time stamps on the emails of us sales reps you would see how they changed over the years. When we all had little ones at home many of the time stamps would be in the late hours, after our children had gone to bed. When our kids all started going to school there were many more morning time stamps. As our children grew older and more self-sufficient you may find time stamps throughout most of the day.

Growing Up in Santa Cruz gave my children some special opportunities they wouldn’t have had. Krista got to design the cover for one of the Summer Activity Guide issues. Lizzie was able to use her photography skills many times providing covers for many issues while she was in high school. My son, Jordan, was on a January cover as a baby looking into the coming new year. Two of my grandkids have been on the covers multiple times.

Besides selling ads I have had the opportunity to write several articles over the years which I really enjoyed.

Sophie Veniel
Sales Representative

Happy 25th anniversary to Growing up In Santa Cruz! It’s a time for reflection on a great place I have so much to be thankful for working 24 years at Growing up In Santa Cruz, a fun job with an amazing community. I joined Growing Up in 1998.

As a new mom, it was the perfect job that allowed me to stay home with my children. Growing up became my second family as we all enjoy deep friendships. It is special to be part of such a creative team. I love working with both the customers and my coworkers alike. Because having you as our audience, it pushes us to our goal to offer busy parents so many options to create unforgettable childhood memories.

Christy Shults
Art Director | Managing Editor

I joined the Growing Up Family three years ago and have had an incredible experience. I’ve had the opportunity to revamp our branding and design, my kiddos contribute content, but most of all I have learned massive amounts from my Growing Up in Santa Cruz co-workers. I’m thankful I get the pleasure of bringing the best of Santa Cruz County to you, the readers!

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